My Life In Travel: Diarmuid Gavin, gardener and television presenter

'Wandering around Venice's streets out of season is sublime'

First holiday memory?

A caravan holiday in Northern Ireland when I was three, with my cousins. I have a very clear memory of it – there were visits to the circus and ice-cream. It was great fun.

Best holiday?

A holiday two years ago with my family in New Zealand, drinking in dramatic landscapes in Lord of the Rings territory. I have a friend who is half Maori and used to be a metal worker for me in London. He went home and always wanted me to visit.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

County Kerry in south-west Ireland. I love the rugged scenery, beautiful beaches, brown bread and soup, and a pint of Guinness. There's a great hotel there called the Parknasilla, where Justine and I got married.

What have you learnt from your travels?

I've learnt to pack as little as possible and also to arrive with some local currency or dollars – except in Cuba – in case nothing is open because of a delayed flight. Then when you arrive and need a taxi, you've got cash.

Ideal travelling companion?

Justine and our daughter, Eppie. We travel together whenever possible and although Eppie is only three, she is a great traveller.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I'm not really a beach person, but I love swimming in the sea. I enjoy culture in terms of architecture and wandering through cities. I also love leaf-peeping – chasing the different colours of autumn foliage through southern New Zealand in May and June.

Greatest travel luxury?

Turning left on a plane. I travel all the time and the ability to fold a seat into a bed is the one thing that makes it bearable.

Holiday reading?

My current favourites are murder-mysteries by Minette Walters, or lighter reads by Anita Notaro.

Where has seduced you?

For all the clichés, Venice is the most extraordinary city in the world. Staying at the Danieli out of season beside St Mark's Square and wandering the alleys is sublime.

Better to travel OR TO arrive?

To travel, because you are full of the hopes, possibilities and excitement of the trip.

Worst travel experience?

I didn't have a great time in Tahiti. It was expensive, nobody local seemed to care if you were there or not and, unluckily for me, I brought Irish weather with me in the middle of summer.

Worst holiday?

A holiday last January in New York, which is a city that I adore. I ended up ill with pneumonia and streptococcus.

Worst hotel?

The worst hotels are always attached to conference centres. They can charge a fortune, the service is often deplorable and they have no inherent character or charm. It's a toss-up between one whose name I don't recall in Louisville, Kentucky, where I was talking at a conference last year, and a hotel beside the NEC in Birmingham. It was a disgrace.

Best Hotel?

The Gore in Kensington, west London. It was recommended to me by friends and I have recommended it to others. It has a gentle Edwardian feel, a home-from-home atmosphere. I also have a great fondness for the Parknasilla Hotel in Kerry, where I got married. It has old-fashioned charm in a stunning location.

Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?

Again, I love walking in the grounds of the Parknasilla in Kerry, through a rocky, undulating landscape, looking out over the Atlantic. My favourite swim would be off the island of Monserrat in the Caribbean; we went for two weeks over St Patrick's Day and we swam in the warm water as the sun was going down, miles away from rainy Ireland. My favourite trek was through the Cuban countryside and my favourite drive was with my wife through the desert, heading for Las Vegas.

Best meal abroad?

Chinatown in Manhattan, for the combination of the food and street theatre.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

Put the bags in the room, then wander outside to get my bearings and have a beer in a local bar.

Dream trip?

I am about to undertake it: we're spending three days in Los Angeles, two weeks in New Zealand and two days in Hong Kong. Justine, Eppie and I are going to New Zealand to see the spectacular annual leaf colour changes – we will be focusing specifically on places such as Central Otago, Christchurch and Marlborough.

Favourite city?

Dublin. No matter how often I travel, it's lovely to come home.

Where next?

After I have completed my garden at the Chelsea Flower Show in May, I am off to the States and New Zealand. Then it's Tanzania and Kenya, and, six weeks after that, I am going to explore Chicago for the first time.

Diarmuid Gavin is supporting Air New Zealand's leaf peeping campaign this year (April-June). The airline flies twice daily from Heathrow to Auckland via both Hong Kong and LA and is the only carrier to circumnavigate the globe from London (www.airnewzealand.com)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Financial Controller

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...

    Direct Marketing Executive - Offline - SW London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...

    Day In a Page

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

    Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

    Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
    Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

    Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

    Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

    UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London